Banjoverse: The Full Epic
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Laughing Oliphaunt, The: 5. The Fourth Swimmer (Ragnor)
The terror of that foul beast remained with him still, though, and so when he crawled out of the river, surprised and exhausted to find himself alive and relatively unscathed, he had taken a moment to press his face into the mud and scream. Scream from the absolute fear, and the desperation of the situation, and that horrible Nazgûl cry still ringing in his ears.
Once he had emptied his lungs of all the water and all the horror, he had begun to half-walk, half-crawl along the riverbank, trembling, moving quietly for he had no sword, searching for any who may have survived with him. Whispering quietly, calling the names of his companions. Nearly hysterical. Hi, hi… ho, speak, if you can… Lord Amlaith? Ho… ho, if you live, speak now… Lord Boromir?
After hours of searching, he had found none and had despaired. He had become disoriented. Nausea. And just as he had begun to panic, not knowing what to do or where to go, whether to return to the burning city, or whether Osgiliath had fallen and it was useless to return, he had heard a low moan.
An inarticulate sound replied. A Man’s voice. Familiar.
And so Ragnor had gone forth, stumbling, frantic, searching for the sound. For the sun was hidden away completely, and all was dark, and Ragnor had lost all sense of time completely. He had followed the sound and, feeling around in the dark, found a Man lying against the river. When his fingers touched a smooth, cool surface – lightly curved – moving down, a baldric – he had immediately recognized the shadowy figure.
Boromir now sat beside Ragnor, moving silently to his sixth ale. The Captain had spoken little in the hours they had spent in The Laughing Oliphaunt, even as the others’ tension was increasingly relieved as the night wore on and the alcohol flowed.
Red-haired Ragnor, Ragnor the Jesting they called him. And so, feeling the need to talk, but not knowing what to say, just anything to dissolve the silence at his elbow, anything to rid himself of the vivid flashes, Ragnor perked up.
“Know you the story of the iron-smith from Belfalas?”
Heavy eyes warming. “Nay, I do not.”
“Ah, it’s a good one, though perhaps Lord Faramir should not hear this, ere he will blush…”
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